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City Welcomes New Fire Chief

The City of New Bern announces the hiring of Damien Locklear as Fire Chief.  Mr. Locklear comes to New Bern from Kinston, where he served as Fire Chief of the City of Kinston Department of Fire & Rescue. His first day on the job will be Monday, January 8, 2024. He will be formally introduced at the Board of Aldermen meeting on Tuesday, January 9, 2024.


Eighty-six applications were considered for this position. Mr. Locklear stood out with his experience, education, leadership, and management of a dedicated staff of fire personnel. For the last 17 years, Mr. Locklear has worked in the fire service across central and eastern North Carolina and he is well-versed in emergency management and fire and safety risk within urban, rural, and coastal settings. Additionally, Mr. Locklear is a certified EMT, Fire & Life Safety Educator, Technical Rescuer, HAZMAT Level I, Firefighter and Fire Officer among several other certifications and official trainings. He is also an instructor who has taught firefighter qualifications and leadership courses across North Carolina.

“Mr. Locklear has a strong foundation in emergency management and response,” said Foster Hughes, City Manager. “He demonstrates an ability to adapt to change and has a focused attention to detail. We are excited about the vision he has for the future of New Bern Fire-Rescue.”

Mr. Locklear holds a bachelor’s degree in fire science administration as well as a master’s degree in public administration (Organizational Leadership) from Waldorf University in Iowa. As Fire Chief, he will oversee a nationally accredited fire-rescue department of 75 career and volunteer firefighters. New Bern Fire-Rescue is comprised of five divisions including Suppression, Training, Fire Prevention, Support Services, and Administration, and has an annual operating budget of approximately $7.5 million.

Mr. Locklear’s annual salary will be $125,000.